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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • After nearly a half-century of banking, Brenda Walden puts the pencil down

  • A retirement party set for her April 30 at First Security Bank
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  • Brenda Walden has held many titles in the past 47 years; on April 30 she will receive a new title–retired.
     
    A retirement party will be held in Brenda’s honor at First Security Bank on Tuesday, April 30 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
     
    Brenda still remembers the date she began working at First Security Bank–at that time First National Bank–June 1, 1966. It was her first day after high school graduation from St. Mary’s.
     
    Prior to graduation, Brenda’s high school guidance counselor knew she was not going to be attending college and recommended that she apply at the bank where his sister worked.
     
    Before being hired, Brenda knew the value of hard work. Her father died in a plane crash near Stewart in 1951. At the time, the oldest of her siblings was 10 years old and her youngest sister was born a month after the accident.
     
    Married two years out of high school to her husband, Mike, a retired electrician, the Walden’s have two children. Their son, Jon and his wife, Melissa, live in Eden Prairie and have three sons, Jacob, Tyler and Gavin.
     
    The couple’s daughter, Barbara (Barbie) is married to Daniel Gruenhagen and they live in Maple Grove with their two children, Max and Elsie.
     
    Brenda said while she is excited to begin a new chapter in her life, she will feel bittersweet about leaving co-workers who have worked at the bank along side her for nearly as many years.
     
    “We’ve been through weddings, births graduations, funerals and now we are working on grandchildren,” Brenda said. “We are a close group, almost like family.” 
    Over the course of her employment at First Security Bank, Brenda has seen the bank go through many name changes, mergers, technology changes and leadership changes.
     
    Charles Haug and Dave Carr were Brenda’s first mentors. During their leadership Brenda went from the bookkeeping department, advancing to a cashier.
     
    However, Brenda contributes her long-standing career at the bank to her co-workers, her previous mentors, the current bank president, John McGee and the bank owner, L.A. Admundson.
     
    As Brenda continued to evolve in her roles at the bank, the bank continued to grow and change.
    Brenda remembers when the bank used a double ledger system where a cashier would have to check the balance of an account twice and compare the two totals. From double posting the bank went to single posting, then copy machines, faxes, computers and now Internet banking and ATMs.
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    One thing Brenda says she will miss at the bank is the ever-changing knowledge of computers. After working a few years she said she was able to attended computer classes through the local Community Ed and has always turned to Matt Wagner for his expertise.
     
    Outside of the office Brenda is an avid bowler, having been inducted in the Sleepy Eye Bowling Hall of Fame, still continues to bowl in up to three leagues. Aside from bowling she also enjoys doing Sudoku’s and crossword puzzles. While still working at the bank Brenda was a committed volunteer, even being honored with the Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year award in 2005 for her work on the annual Buttered Corn Days celebration.
     
    She was also involved with St. Mary’s Ladies’ Guild group and formerly she was a Band Booster Treasurer, on the Dollars for Scholars committee and was president of the local Ladies Bowling Association.
     
    In retirement Brenda said her only plans for now are to read a book, and do her Sudoku’s and crossword puzzles, hopefully finishing one before the next one comes out in the newspaper.
     
    She plans on spending some time with her grandchildren this summer and traveling to northern Minnesota with her husband to do some fishing.
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